Im a rookie!

Im a rookie!

Hello, Im crossing over from six string guitar/six string banjo. I have recently aquired a deering 17 fret open back tenor banjo (goodtime). I love the sound of the tenor banjo and i believe i have the dexterity to some what play the thing. Im following most discussions that are posted here. My struggles lie in what type of strings are proper? My understanding is the strings my banjo came with are gauged for cgda tuning. I have recently ordered some heavier gauged strings, at 13 20 30 40 and some at 12 22 32 44, hoping to have a deeper sound? sounds a little off now when playing in GDAE. Thats the tuning id like to begin with. Will my 17 fret sound proper with these gauges?..or will i find out soon enough? It seems from reading other discussions on string gauge and tuning that a lot has to do with personal preference. All i know is i love the music produced by this instrument and i am looking forward to learning all i can!!!

Sean

Re: Im a rookie!

I use .012(E), .018Plain(A), .028(D), and .038(G). Also the tightness of the skin will affect your tone- the tighter the brighter. The type of pick you use will also affect the tone- I use a .50mm Tortex Jim Dunlop, many other players use a .73mm Dunlop nylon. The closer you are to the bridge the more treble you’ll get, and indeed the type of timber and the thickness of the bridge will make a difference to your volume as will your choice to use an open back banjo.

Re: Im a rookie!

I find the d’daddario Irish tenor banjo strings good for tone and I have experimented with thicker strings.From what tony is saying theres also other factors. I use either a .60mm or a .73mm Dunlop nylon. I would also recommend playing about an inch or two from the bridge where the sound is not too thin.Dont play further away as the string is too lax and its harder to play.

I also do lessons at home here(on skype also if your further away) if your interested.

Re: Im a rookie!

D‘Addario does an ’Irish Banjo‘ set. These are .012(E), .016Plain(A), .024(D), and .036(G). However, they are gauged for 19-fret scale, so they’d be a touch slack on a short scale banjo. I chose the gauges for my 17-fret tenor by taking the D’Addario gauges and adding roughly 8%. I’ve only ever had the one set of strings on it (🙂 I don’t play it a great deal), so I can’t remember the exact gauges, but they’d be something like .013, .017, .026 & .039 - a bit heavier than Tony’s, but they seem to work, anyway.

Tony plays his banjo much more (and much better) than me, so I certainly wouldn’t challenge his choice - I’m just putting a different perspective on things. Besides, although, according to the laws of physics, the same weight of string at a shorter length requires less tension to reach the same pitch, it is also less flexible the shorter it is, so this effect will, to some degree, counteract the perceived slackness of the string. Heavier/stiffer strings are also more likely to give you intonation problems.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/DAddario-J63I-Irish-Tenor-Strings/dp/B0006IQND4

Re: Im a rookie!

You can buy single banjo strings online from Elderly Instruments, they have all the gauges if, like me, you can’t find the gauges you want in a set, but they only stock GHS in singles.

Re: Im a rookie!

There was a recent thread on this topic, you may try searching for it.

I used to use the D’adarrio Irish set but always thought they weren’t quite right.
I recently switched to using mandolin strings, the D’addario J74 set. They are just barely long enough and you get two sets per package.

I have a 17 fret goodtime that is my main performance banjo. I tightened the head and made a new Red Henry style bridge and it sounds pretty good.